… pun intended. Several months ago I responded to a request from Lark Books looking for reviewers for their Art Quilt books. I never heard from them and I will admit it had slipped my mind. I arrived home yesterday to find a package by my front door… I couldn't recall ordering anything and the return addressee did not ring a bell. Of course I excitedly opened the package! Inside were books… before I pulled them out, I was trying to remember IF I had ordered some books and forgotten about them.. no. I now looked at the titles and knew I hadn't ordered them, although one was on my list. So now I am thinking, maybe I have a secret admirer and they were sending me a gift. Not quite that kind of luck. Inside was a letter from the senior editor at Lark Books hoping I would review the books. I guess they had not forgotten me. The books are "500 Art Quilts: An Inspiring collection of Contemporary Work" and "Pretty Little Mini Quilts". On to the reviews:
Pretty Little Mini Quilts by Ray Hemachandra
This book contains 30 mini quilt projects from 26 quilt designers. The book is well laid out and has nice photos. This book would be appropriate for those who are very new to quilting or want to step out and try their hand at a simple art quilt. The projects include piecing, applique, hand and machine stitching, and some embellishment. The more advanced projects include printing on fabric (but doesn't tell you how to treat the fabric or which treated fabric to purchase), watercolor painting, and trapunto. Most of the projects are pretty basic and those are very clear. The few more advanced projects really do not explain the techniques very well and unless you are already familiar with them, might be confusing. If you understand these techniques then this book is not geared to you. I think this should have been 2 different books. One on basic mini quilts and another book on basic mini art quilts BUT with more expanded explanations and instructions.
500 Art Quilts: An inspiring Collection of Contemporary Work by Ray Hemachandra and juror Karey Bresenhan
WOW is my first reaction. The photos are spectacular and each artist is given space enough to shine. Some pieces have close up detail shots as well. This is a very diversified and eclectic mix of styles by very talented artists. There are well known names as well as those who are not up in lights and the mix is refreshing. Any technique that you can imagine is used by these artists and there is something to please everyone. The styles range from the more "traditional" art quilts to the totally avant guard. These are truly pieces of art and could easily rival paintings on canvas. Some pieces are representational and some are totally abstract. It is pure eye candy and a must for every library. This is not a book you would ever get tired of looking at.
As an aside... I would like to kick myself. I had an opportunity to submit a piece for this book and felt that my work was not good enough. I do not know if I would have made the cut or not, but NOT trying was one of the most boneheaded and idiotic decisions I have recently made. Bad on me. Kudos to all who submitted and congratulations to all whose work was accepted.